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How to Improve Medical Science, for Free

Randomized, placebo-controlled trials are the foundation of modern medical science. But there's a big problem them -- selective publication. When companies don’t like the results of a drug trial, they just file the inconvenient results away and never publish them. They can keep running trials until, just by chance, the drug seems to work.

This is known as publication bias, and it undermines the entire point of doing research in the first place.

However, according to Jamie Horder, writing in The Guardian:

“Fortunately, there's a simple, powerful, and cheap solution. In 2007, the US passed a pioneering law called the Food and Drug Administration Amendment Act ... anyone running a trial of an investigational drug or medical device, that includes any American patients, to register the details of the study in a public database ... Trial sponsors are also required to release the results ...”

Horder believes that the EU would do well to adopt an equivalent system.

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